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Senate body exonerates FBR from AML harassment charges

Senate body exonerates FBR from AML harassment charges

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization has exonerated Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) from the charges to harass taxpayers by misusing Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML).

The committee meeting was partially chaired by senators Saleem Mandviwalla, Ilyas Ahmad Bilour and Kamal Ali Agha and attended by, Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Sardar Fateh Muhamamd Muhammad Hassani, Osman Saifullah Khan and Mohsin Aziz.

“Out of 210 reports sent to FBR by Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), the board has initiated action on only three cases, which could not be termed as harassment,” said Kamil Ali Agha, who was chairing the meeting of the committee when the issue came under discussion. The committee had initiated discussion on alleged misuse of AML on complaint of some taxpayers, however it disposed off the matter with consideration that the number of cases being investigated by FBR under AML act were very nominal and could not be called harassment. The committee, however, asked the officials of FBR to submit quarterly reports on implementation of AML Act and action taken under the act.

Earlier, FBR officials informed the committee that FMU was a monitoring unit having its office in the head office of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), adding that the unit sends report to FBR and other organizations including National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency to check out any misdeed. They informed the committee that AMU had so far sent 210 reports to the board, which initiated action on only three cases.

The board officials informed the committee that the decision to conduct raid under AML was being taken by Director General Intelligence and Investigation FBR in consultations with Chairman of the board, adding that the field officers are not authorized to do it.

The committee while discussing constitutional status of Competition Commission of Pakistan, decided to write to the Lahore High Court for speedy process to take decision on CCP case under which its constitutional existence had been challenged.

The Attorney General of Pakistan, on the occasion, informed the committee that some companies approached the LHC, challenging the constitutional status of the commission to save themselves from the actions taken by CCP.

The committee also discussed the issue of grievances of business community of Khayber Pahkhtunkhwa, FATA and PTA who were affected by 126F of income tax Ordinance 2001.

However, on the suggestions of FBR, the committee advised the stakeholders to hold a meeting with the board to find amicable solution of the issue.